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defend themselves from violence, and bring to your Army such as did them any wrong, where they should be punished with all severity: upon this, very quietly and peaceably they marched away to their houses, being very well satisfied and contented.
We marched on to Shaftesbury, where-we heard a great body of them T*as drawn together about Hambledon Hill;—where indeed near two thousand were gathered. I sent 'up ' a forlorn-hope of about fifty Horse; who coming very civilly to them, they fired upon them; and ours desiring some of them to come to me, were refused with disdain. They were drawn into one of the old Camps,* upon a very high Hill: I sent one Mr. Leet to them, To certify the peaceableness of my intentions, and To desire them to peaceableness, and to submit to the Parliament. They refused, and fired at us. I sent him a second time, To let them know, that if they would lay down their arms, no wrong should be done them. They still (through the animation of their leaders, and especially two vile ministers) refused; I commanded your Captain-Lieutenant to draw up to them, to be in readiness to charge; and if, upon his falling-on, they would lay down arms, to accept them and spare them. When we came near, they refused this offer, and let fly at him; killed about two of his men, and at least four horses. The passage not being for above three a-breast, kept us out; whereupon Major Desbrow wheeled about; got in the rear of them, beat them from the work, and did some small execution upon them ;—I believe killed not twelve of them, but cut very many, 'and put them all to flight.' We have taken about 300 ; many of which are poor silly creatures, whom if you please to let me send home, they promise to be very dutiful for time to come, and will be hanged before they come out again.
The ringleaders which we have, I intend to bring to you. They had taken divers of the Parliament soldiers prisoners, besides Colonel Fiennes his men: and used them most barbarously; bragging, they hoped to see my Lord Hopton, and that he is to command them. They expected from Wilts great store; and gave out they meant to raise the siege at Sherborne, when ' once' they were all met. We have gotten great store of their arms, and they carried few or none home. We quarter abont ten miles off, and purpose to draw our quarters near to you to-morrow.
Your most humble servant,
•Roman Camps (Gough's Camden, i., 52).
t ' One Mr. Lee who, upon the approach of ours, had come from than (Sprigge, p. 79).
t Newspapers (Cromwelliana, p. 20). Also Sprigge, pp. 112, 118.
'On Tuesday at night, August 5th, the Lieutenant-General' Cromwell 'with his party returned tq Sherborne,' where the General and the rest were very busy besieging the inexpugnable Sir Lewis Dives.
'This work,' which the Lieutenant-General had now been upon, continues Sprigge, 'though unhappy, was very necessary.'* No messenger could be sent out but he was picked up by these Clubmen: these once dispersed, 'a man might ride very quietly from Sherborne to Salisbury.' The inexpugnable Sir Lewis Dives (a thrasonical person known to the readers of Evelyn), after due battering, was now soon stormed: whereupon, by Letters found on him, it became apparent how deeply Royalist this scheme of Clubmen had been: 'Commissions for raising Regiments of Clubmen;' the design to be extended over England at large, 'yeainto the Associated Counties:' however, it has now come to nothing; and the Army turns up to the Siege of Bristol, where Prince Ru pert is doing all he can to entrench himself.
STORM OF BRISTOL.
0« the Lord's Day, September 21. according to Order of Parliament, Lieutenant-General Cromwell's Letter on the taking of Bristol was read in the ' several Congregations about London, and thanks returned to Almighty God for the admirable and wonderful reducing of that city. The Letter of the renowned Commander is well worth observation.'* For the Siege itself and what preceded and followed it, see besides this Letter, Rupert's own account,f and the ample details of Sprigge copied with abridgment by Rushworth; Sayer's History of Bristol gives Plans, and all manner of local details, though in a rather vague way.
For the Honorable William Lenthall, Speaker of the Commons House of Parliament: These.
Bristol, 14th September, 1645.
It has pleased the General to give me in charge to represent unto you a particular account of the taking of Bristol; the which I gladly undertake.
After the finishing of that service at Sherborne, it was disputed at a council of war, Whether we should march into the West or to Bristol? Amongst other arguments, the leaving so considerable an enemy at our backs, to march into the heart of the Kingdom, the undoing of the country about Bristol, which was 'already' exceedingly harassed by the Prince his being thereabouts but a fortnight; the correspondency he might hold in Wales; the possibility of uniting the Enemy's forces where they pleased, and especially of drawing to an head the disaffected Clubmen of Somerset, Wilts and Dorset, when once our backs were toward them: these considerations, together with 'the hope of taking so important a place, so advantageous for the opening of trade to London,—did sway the balance, and beget that conclusion.
Newspapers, Cromwelliana, p. 24. t Rushworth. vi., 69. &c
When we came within four miles of the City, we had a new debate, Whether we should endeavor to block it up, or make a regular siege? The latter being overruled, Colone. Welden with his brigade marched to Pile Hill, on the South side of the City, being within musket-shot thereof;—where in a few days they made a good quarter, overlooking the City. Upon our advance, the enemy fired Bedminster, Clifton, and some other villages lying near to the City; and would have fired more, if our unexpected coming had not hindered. The General caused somr Horse and Dragoons under Commissary-General Ireton to advance over Avon, to keep in the enemy on the North side of the Town, till the foot could come up: and after a day, the General, with Colonel Montague's and Colonel Rainsborough's brigades, marched over at Kensham to Stapleton, where he quartered that night. The next day, Colonel Montague, having this post assigned with his brigade, To secure all between the Rivers Froom and Avon; he came up to Lawford's Gate,* within musket-shot thereof. Colonel Rainsborough's post was near to Durdarn Down, whereof the Dragoons and three regiments of Horse made good a post upon the Down, between him and the River Avon, on his right hand. And from Colonel Rainsborough's quarters to Froom River on his left, a part of Colonel Birch's, and ' the whole of General Skippon's regiment were to maintain that post.
These posts thus settled, our Horse were forced to be upon exceeding great duty; to stand by the Foot, lest the Foot, being so weak in all their posts, might receive an affront. And truly herein we were very happy, that we should receive so little loss by sallies; considering the paucity of our men to make good the posts, and strength of the enemy within. By sallies (which were three or four) I know not that we lost thirty men in all the time, of our siege. Of officers of quality, only Colonel Okey was taken by mistake (going 'ofhimself to the enemy, thinking they had been friends), and Captain Guilliams slain in a charge. We took Sir Bernard Astley; and killed Sir Richard Crane,—one very considerable with the Prince.
We had a council of war concerning the storming of the Town, about eight days before we took it; and in that there appeared great unwillingness to the work, through the unseasonableness of the weather, and other apparent difficulties. Some inducement to bring us thither had been the report of the good affection of the Townsmen to us; but that did not answer expectation. Upon a second consideration, it was overruled for a storm. And all things seemed to favor the design;—and truly there hath been seldom the like cheerfulness to any work like tq
* One of the Bristol Gates.
this, after it was once resolved upon. The day and hour of our storm was appointed to be on Wednesday morning, the Tenth of September about one of the clock. We chose to act it so early because we hoped thereby to surprise the Enemy. With this resolution also, to avoid confusion and falling foul one upon another, That when 'once' we had recovered * the Line and Forts upon it, we should not advance further till day. The General's signal unto a storm was to be, The firing of straw, and discharging four pieces of cannon at Pryor's Hill Fort.
The signal was very well perceived of all; and truly the men went on with great resolution ; and very presently recovered the Line, making way for the Horse to enter. Colonel Montague and Colonel Pickering, who stormed at Lavvford's Gate, where was a double work, well filled with men and cannon, presently entered; and with great resolution beat the enemy from their works, and possessed their cannon. Their expedition was such that they forced the enemy from their advantages, without any considerable loss to themselves. They laid down the bridges for the Horse to enter ;—Major Desbrow commanding the Horse; who fery gallantly seconded the Foot. Then our Foot advanced to the City Walls; where they possessed the Gate against the Castle Street: whereinto were put 100 men; who made it good. Sir Hardress Waller with his own and the General's regiment, with no less resolution, entered on the other side of Lawford's Gate, towards Avon River; and put themselves into immediate conjunction with the rest of the brigade.
During this, Colonel Rainsborough and Colonel Hammond attempted Pryor's Hill Fort, and the Line downwards towards Froom; and the Major-General's regiment being to storm towards Froom River, Colonel Hammond possessed the Line immediately, and beating the enemy from it, made way for the Horse to enter. Colonel Rainsborough, who had the hardest task of all at Pryor's Hill Fort, attempted it; and fought near three hours for it. And indeed there was great despair of carrying the place; it being exceeding high, a ladder of thirty rounds scarcely reaching the top thereof; but his resolution was such that, notwithstanding the inaccessibleness and difficulty, he would not give it over. The enemy had four pieces of cannon upon it, which they plied with round and case shot upon our men: his Lieutenant-Colonel Bowen, and others, were two hours at push of pike, standing upon the palisadoes, but could not enter. 'But now' Colonel Hammond being entered the
• Recovered means' taken,' 'got possession of:' the Line is a new earthen work outside the walls; very deficirnt in height according to Ruperf s account